Monthly Archives: December 2010

Intention in the New Year

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Welcome 2011

So how can we ensure our desires for the new year manifest?

There are as many techniques as there are people.

One of my favorites are the cultures that use foods.

Feeling lucky? Good-luck foods to give delicious start to new year Every country, each nationality seems to have a food or group of foods and often a special symbolic dish to celebrate the New Year. Think of them as wishes: for good health, for a prosperous year, a favorable harvest, a wish for love, for children, for shelter, for harmony — for peace.

Cooked Greens

Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one’s fortune next year.

I personally use a version of the recipe below:
basil (for its reference to money – basil)
tomatoes (major health benefits – tomatoes)
a creamy rich cheese (any cheese that encourages your feelings of richness will intention that into your year)
salt and pepper (very valued spices – pepper)
olive oil (for it’s health benefits – olive oil)

I often serve these an individual appetizers though tossed in a bowl it is a marvelous salad.

TOMATO, BASIL, AND MOZZARELLA SALAD

1 lb. pearl or cherry tomatoes (though any slicing tomoato with great flavor will work as well), red, very ripe tomatoes (2-3 tomatoes)
2 oz. cheese – mozzarella is most commonly used but I love this with a strong Irish cheddar, a Gruyere, even goat cheese or brie.
8 leaves fresh basil
2 tsp. olive oil
Dash cracked pepper

Slice tomatoes crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices; 4 slices per tomato. Arrange 2-3 slices on each salad plate. Sprinkle Mozzarella on top of each tomato. Cut fresh basil leaves into strips and top each tomato with basil. Drizzle olive oil over the tops and add a dash of pepper. Enjoy!

FISH
In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest (sardines were once used to fertilize rice fields).

For my house salmon is or good luck fish along with oysters. Beginning the New Year in good health and starting the new year with healthy food choices is a great way to start the New Year “right”.

Oysters N Salmon

Salmon of course is rich in Omega3’s but also are amazing in their focus. Salmon travel thousands of miles throughout their life cycle returning to their original location to spawn as they end their lives.

It is believed oysters are aphrodisiacs thus a great one for intention love into one’s life. They also though increase one’s zinc. It is said that zinc deficiency leads to acne, eczema and rough and dry skin. They also represent the power of the pearl – considered to offer the power of love, money, protection, and luck. Pearls are thought to give wisdom through experience, to quicken the laws of karma and to cement engagements and love relationships. They are thought to keep children safe.

Mushrooms
Another personal favorite. We are blessed with the ability to gather wild mushrooms locally. Found in the rich black humus during the break from winter rain they decompose oak and other woods back into soil. Many “wild” mushrooms are now farmed to ensure our safe eating pleasure. Health wise mushrooms are low in calories, have no cholesterol and are virtually free of fat and sodium. They also contain other essential minerals like Selenium, which works with Vitamin E to produce antioxidants that neutralize free radicals which can cause cell damage. Potassium is also found in mushrooms. It has been suggested a diet with potassium may help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Copper is another essential mineral found in mushrooms. Copper aids iron in making red blood cells and delivers oxygen to the body. Mushrooms also contain three B-complex vitamins; riboflavin for healthy skin and vision, niacin for aiding in the digestive and nervous systems, and pantothenic acid which helps the nervous system and in hormone production. The vitamin content of mushrooms is actually similar to the vitamin content found in meat.

What Not to Eat

In addition to the aforementioned lucky foods, there are also a few to avoid. Lobster, for instance, is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.

Now that you know what to eat, there’s one more superstition—that is, guideline—to keep in mind. In Germany, it’s customary to leave a little bit of each food on your plate past midnight to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year. Likewise in the Philippines, it’s important to have food on the table at midnight. The conclusion? Eat as much lucky food as you can, just don’t over indulge — your new year will include a large exercise program.

Welcome to 2011

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Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!!!

Yes I know I’m early but I want in on your resolutions!

Every year millions of people world wide resolve to make changes to their life styles.  Some personal and some for community.

Here are 5 easy “resolutions” that will improve your life:

1. Drink water – plain filtered water

Our bodies are mostly water and replenishing them is important. So is moderation.  Too much water and you wash nutrients out. Think of yourself as soil and water consciously.  This hydration calculator will help you determine what’s right for you. http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm

2. Walking –

Yes it’s exercise but a few extra steps can help you waist away a fey extra inches.  10,000 steps a day is recommended for health by Dr.Oz – Here are his 5 tips for Stress Proofing Your Body.

3. Read the Label and eat with intention

yes again it’s work but you are worth it.  I use the if I can pronounce it and accurately state it’s food qualities don’t eat it rule. Removing a few key ingredients from your diet can make a world of difference.

According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, Cardiac Surgeon and host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” there are 5 ingredients to avoid in order to consume a healthy diet.  ”It’s called the rule of fives,” he says. “When you look on the back of a food label, they have to list the ingredients from the most common to the least common. You want to actually make sure these five ingredients are not in the top five on the food label.”  Dr. Oz call this his “rule of fives.”  You must read the labels of the foods you eat.  If any of the first five ingredients listed is one of the following, don’t eat it.


High fructose corn syrup
“We most commonly get this in soft drinks,” Dr. Oz says. “It’s an inexpensive sugar, which means we’re getting a lot of it in our diet.”


Sugar
Dr. Oz says when you eat sweets, your brain receives schizophrenic messages. “It says: ‘I got calories, but I didn’t get any nutrients,’” he says. Your body will keep craving food until it gets those nutrients.


“Enriched”
Also watch out for products made with “enriched” flour, like white bread. “Why would they take bread and have to enrich it? Because they take all the important vitamins out of it, and they sprinkle just a little bit back in there,” Dr. Oz says.


Trans fat
Also known as hydrogenated fat, these are fats that were once in liquid form but have hydrogen added to make them solid at room temperature. “It extends the shelf life of the product,” Dr. Oz says. “But it shortens the human life.”


Saturated fats
These fats come from four-legged animals like pigs and cows.


Small changes with big results.

4. Add in those fresh fruits and veggies.

Local farmers markets happen year round often with foods changing with the seasons. Eating local has true lifestyle benefits beyond self. Here is the link to finding California Certified Farmer’s Markets

5. Shop Local –

Shopping local keeps between $.25 and $.35 cents of every dollar spent in the community, supports the local labor force and keeps business in your community add in local fresh foods and your health benefits just as much.  By passing larger stores for family owned stores also is a huge benefit to the community especially if they have made a commitment to maintain a large portion of locally produced products.

Spiced Chai Tea

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The cold snap has hit.  Ice covers the car windows most mornings and there is condensation on the inside house windows.  The animals have a thick coat and seem to be enjoying the cool air.  The frogs are rather loud letting us know the water is high and lovely for them.  Despite all this lovely winter celebration taking place around us we humans are back to fighting colds, flu and the general “geeze it’s cold” blues!

Assuming a few are like me coffee is wonderful but not truly as warming as tea nor as hydrating.  I had lost my voice that Friday and on Sunday it had still not returned fully and in truth barely partially.  My lovely local coffee house purveyor decided the answer was a spicy chai with a kick of cayenne.  WHOA BABY!

So in honor of Alexis and her spicy chai with cayenne kick I created a recipe to boost the healing powers a bit higher.  Just to note in India chai is not spiced as it is here in the US.  And this particular recipe is really a healing recipe.

Smoothie Essentials has a number of boosts that may be added to this recipe to increase it’s healing.  I personally like

Women's Blend blended into my drinks.  The way I do that is pretty simplistic.  Using a hand blender I blend it into a bit of cold water, soy or milk since hot tends to deteriorate certain vitamins.  This then becomes my cooling for my drink and is blended into the drink at the very end of my creation process.

The general recipe:

For one serving of chai I use per person 1 teacup of water, 1 heaping teaspoon of loose black tea, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teacup of milk. This provides more than one cup of chai per person! I do it this way for a couple of reasons. First of all, some of the water evaporates while boiling, Secondly, some people may want a second cup of chai. If I prepare chai in the way described above, I generally have just the right amount for all present, and everybody is happy.

Place 1 teacup of water into a saucepan.

Add 1 heaping teaspoon of loose black tea leaves into the cold water. (Some Indians like to mix Lipton Red Label tea and Lipton Green Label tea. The mixture does provide a nice blend of flavor.)

Bring the water to a boil, and add in 1 teaspoon of sugar, and boil for 1 minute.

Add in one teacup of milk, and heat to boiling. Allow to boil for about 30 seconds, stirring so it doesn’t boil over.

Strain and serve.

The updated recipe:

  • 1 teacup of water
  • 1 teaspoon tea – I love using peach black tea it gives such a nice sweet taste and smell and can be used without any sweetner.

  • 1 teaspoon local honey  **Local honey helps build resistance to local allergens.
  • 1 teacup of milk – regular, soy, almond – whatever you enjoy.
  • Now for the spices – 3-4 tablespoons  *Spice Mixing is below – I encourage you to create a flavor that fits your personal tastes.  Also a bit of research on the healing properties of the spices (much too much info to post into this small space) and one can improve their daily health.

Place 1 teacup of water into a saucepan.
Add 1 heaping teaspoon of loose black tea leaves and 3-4 tablespoons of spices into the cold water. Bring the water to a boil, and add in 1 teaspoon of honey, and boil for 1 minute.  Add in one teacup of milk, and heat to boiling. Allow to boil for about 30 seconds, stirring so it doesn’t boil over.

Strain, stir in the blended milk with vitamins if you have chosen this and serve.  Now should you want to bring the temperature up and thus your temperature up add a bit of cayenne to the top.

Mixing chai spices at home

Make and use your spice mix by weight. For best results, use whole or broken spices, not ground! To make 3 ½ ounces, start with about an ounce of shelled green or black cardamon and a half ounce of cinnamon bark. Then be sure you use some clove and ginger, and make up the weight from your favorites from this list:

Allspice, cracked
Black pepper, cracked
HOT!
Cardamon, hulled
Cinnamon
Cloves
Coriander seed
Ginger
HOT!
Mace and Nutmeg
Star anise
Fennel
Bay leaf
Vanilla bean (American addition, ala Oregon chai)

Garam marsala (Rajah brand is best) or Chinese five spice powder can be mixed half and half with cardamon for a quickie shortcut chai spice. It tends to be hot-flavored.